A GROUP of inspirational amateur bike riders are taking on a massive challenge – the 780km Cairns to Karumba (C2K) Ultra-Marathon – determined to reduce stigma around mental illness and raise much-needed funds for Bush Kids.
Now they are calling for support from the Far Northern community and businesses to help them fulfil their dream, backed by local MP Warren Entsch and a bevy of accomplished mentors.
Titled the ‘Changing Lives Project’, 10 members of The Junction Clubhouse are undergoing a rigorous training program backed by a support crew that includes international downhill mountain biker Tracey Hannah and World Transplant Games ambassador and Cairns Regional Council Australia Day Sportsperson of the Year recipient Monty Summers.
“The team’s participation in the C2K event will highlight the determination and courage of people recovering from mental illness and increase awareness about the condition, while raising money for an important regional charity,” Mr Entsch explained.
“However, to participate in this marathon the team needs to get equipment such as mountain bikes, clothing and medical supplies, source accommodation and uniforms, and fund a range of support services as well as covering costs for a documentary crew to film their incredible story.
“We are desperately asking local businesses to join our campaign by assisting with sponsorship, a donation of cash or in-kind support or discounting of a range of items.”
The items that it’s hoped local businesses will be able to assist with include:
• drinks, meat and salads for BBQ lunches while training
• fuel for vehicles during training sessions
• dinner, lunch and accommodation for the team in Port Douglas for the Ironman MTB event
• sports drinks or electrolyte tablets
• training aids including shoes, socks, clothes, shorts, hats, sun cream, heart rate monitor
• one night camping accommodation in Karumba for team
• bicycle event spares and repairs from accidents or wear and tear
• custom printed uniforms (bike shorts, cycle jerseys, hats, casual shirts, gloves, socks)
• camping equipment including tents, pillows, off-ground swags, crockery
• Road Bikes and mountain bike including accessories
• cash donations for on-road vehicle maintenance, professional fees ie medical and physiotherapist, production costs of documentary, Junction Clubhouse staff salaries and project manager expense, administration and marketing expenses, medical supplies, event registration and fundraising for Bush Kids.
Dorothy Dunne, Director of the Junction Clubhouse, said the decision to support a group of 10 members to complete the C2K in June 2017 was “courageous and exciting”.
“The members who are taking part are absolutely committed to achieving their goal of completing the C2K. There’ll be plenty of blood, sweat and tears along the way, but we’re already seeing how people are growing in confidence and ability since starting training in December,” Mrs Dunne said.
“Raising this significant amount of funds will be a challenge, given that participants are largely not working while they are transitioning from mental health care back into the community.
“Nevertheless, once The Junction’s new commercial kitchen is completed next month, we’ll be generating income through catering for local businesses. There is also a GoFundMe page, members will be raising funds through family and friends, collecting donations on the road during training events, and using local networks to promote the Changing Lives Project.
“If there’s anything that people can do to help, then I’d ask them to please contact us – every little bit helps.”
Anyone wanting to offer support can contact:
Brenton Koch, project coordinator at The Junction (0418 555 882)
Heather Beck, Office of Warren Entsch MP (07 4051 2220)
Donations through the Go Fund Me page https://www.gofundme.com/changinglivesproject
Background – The Junction Clubhouse:
Attitudes around mental illness are slowly changing but there can still be a great deal of stigma, making it harder for people to seek help and professional support, or to re-engage with their community.
This is where The Junction Clubhouse is playing a key role, providing a range of support services to help with housing, employment, personal development and healthy lifestyles.
In particular, The Junction’s Bike Bank is teaching members new skills in repairing and maintaining donated bicycles which can then be hired out or bought, creating a means of income. It has also encouraged members to take up cycling with all the health benefits that come with it.
From facing a variety of challenges daily, including a lack of confidence and independence or reliance on medications, members are now pushing the barriers of their physical and mental abilities, feeling satisfaction and achievement and a sense of being part of a team.